The state government has encouraged panchayats to develop tourism spots in each village through the destination challenge project, supported by regional tourism departments and the Kerala Tourism department.
The initial phase of the project has commenced in Uzhavoor and Kanakkary panchayats in Kottayam. The panchayats have been instructed to submit a detailed project report for the regional tourist spots on the tourism department’s online portal.
Upon inspection and approval, the tourism department will allocate up to 60% (maximum Rs 50 lakh) of the total expenses, with the remaining funds to be arranged by the respective panchayats. Project funds, own funds, and MLA funds can be utilized, while the local self-government will oversee the project and revenue collection.
Uzhavoor’s Areekuzhi Project has been proposed for Rs 88 lakh, including the Rs 50 lakh allocated by the tourism department. Approval is also being sought for the Anakallumala project in the panchayat. The project envisions the development of Areekuzhi waterfalls, including a check dam, open gym, facilities for persons with disabilities, street lamps, hand railings, safety walls, selfie points, toilets, and work sheds.
In Kanakkary, the Kanakkary-Chirakulam Madhuram garden project has received an allocation of Rs 98.83 crore as part of the destination challenge project. Chirakulam, located on the Kottayam-Ernakulam road, is an ideal location for a tourism center. The project proposes the development of a pond spanning two and a half acres, along with surrounding land. The water body reaches a depth of 8-20 feet.
The project plans include a ticket counter, information counter, retiring rooms, and security cabins. Construction is underway for solar lights, waste management facilities, children’s leisure facilities funded by the block panchayat, and a women’s gym. Additionally, plans for pedal boating, sweep cycles, and a rope way park are also in progress.